Recently we’ve been having a lot of new people walk in that are reasonable skilled in other athletic endeavors…that’s awesome. However, unless the other sports you’ve done before were grappling based, you’re almost guaranteed to be terrible at jiu jitsu. John Danaher just posted a story today about a former Kenyan Olympic long distance runner (that made his living running around New York City as people’s jogging partner) who took one of his classes and gassed well before the end of training. I really don’t believe that anyone walking through these doors is in that kind of shape, therefore cut yourself some slack. Not only is physical fitness relative to the skill you are involved in, but you also have no idea what you’re doing and probably won’t for a long time. A lot of the people we think about when we think of “naturally gifted” jiu jitsu practitioners may be somewhat naturally gifted, but they are also obsessive. If you have the resources and the ability to train multiple times per day, every day, all week then the gym is here for you. If you don’t then what you expect of yourself shouldn’t be a world class level of BJJ in a month of classes. There’s no magic pill to get better at grappling, and the only thing that prepares you for it is grappling. So if you are putting in the time, effort, and energy to get better, you will get better, if you’re not then you won’t. Set your expectations based only on the task at hand and not on past experience to hopefully lessen the burden of how tough the beginning of this sport is.